The medal, ostensibly to honor men and women "who have strived to secure the blessings of liberty to people the world over," is awarded annually by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
"Awarding the Liberty Medal should not be construed as an endorsement by the Center of President Gorbachev's views on the Russia-Georgia conflict," the center's president, Joseph Torsella said in a report that appeared in the August 19 online edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The center has not responded to another Gorbachev bombshell that exploded earlier this year. In April, author John Koehler, who has researched and written extensively on Soviet intelligence activities, published a book in Poland entitled, "It's about the Pope": Spies in the Vatican. In it, Koehler cites a newly unearthed 1979 document signed by Gorbachev and eight other top Soviet Communist Party officials instructing the KGB to "use all available possibilities to prevent a new political trend, initiated by the Polish pope," and — "if necessary — reach to means beyond disinformation and discreditation." According to Koehler, the reference to means "beyond disinformation and discreditation" meant only one thing: "an approval to kill the pope."
The Koehler book, which is still only available in Polish, reportedly also cites newly available documents from the files of the Stasi, the communist secret police of former East Germany, showing that the KGB was instructing the Stasi to assist in covering up the role of Bulgarian secret services in the papal assassination plot. The trigger man who shot the pope in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981, was of course, Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turk, who was largely passed off as a mad "lone gunman." However, overwhelming evidence of a "Bulgarian connection" has continued to grow over the years, indicating that Ali Agca was indeed trained by the Bulgarians acting as surrogates for the KGB.
Would it not be a terrible travesty - not merely an embarrassing faux pas - to award Gorbachev this esteemed American honor, only to be forced later to acknowledge that, in addition to his many other crimes, he had ordered the assassination of a pope?